When the Jazz decided to let Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap leave last summer via free agency, the message was clear.
The team has big plans for young power forward Derrick Favors.
The situation is similar to one that evolved in 1986, after the Jazz traded All-Star Adrian Dantley to create more opportunities for an emerging Karl Malone.
Going into his second year, Malone made the most of coach Frank Layden’s trust. He became the Jazz’s go-to post player for nearly two decades and ended up in the Hall of Fame.
On Tuesday, when the Jazz opened training camp, Malone attended and spent time working with Favors and Utah’s other big men.
Malone, who also worked with Favors during the offseason, has mentioned the task he’s been given.
"Derrick and I, we’ve had some unbelievable talks," Malone said. "I’ve asked him a lot of questions, like, ‘How committed are you to the organization? Are you ready to carry this organization?’
"… I want Derrick to know the responsibility he has — the pressure he has. I don’t care if he’s 22. He has to know the responsibility that’s been heaped on his shoulders. It’s what Frank did with me."
Malone added: "There’s no Jefferson here any more. There’s no Millsap. So guess what? It’s your turn now. You are on the clock."
During his career, Malone was known for his tremendous work ethic.
So far, he likes what he’s seen in Favors.
"He has a great attitude," Malone said. "He understands working hard every day. He’s not looking at the clock. Everything you ask him to do, he does. He’s been there every day — ready to work — and it’s been awesome for me. I’ve had a blast."
What did Favors take from his offseason sessions with Malone?
"I learned a lot," he said. "Mostly it was mental stuff. He was telling me how to take care of my body, how to come to camp in shape. Those things."
"The franchise means a lot to him," Favors said. "… He was telling me the fans will respect you if you play hard and come out every night and give it all you got."
Jazz go twice Tuesday
The Jazz were scheduled to practice twice on Tuesday — once in the morning and once at night.
After the first session, coach Tyrone Corbin said, "I thought for the most part the guys were in pretty good shape. The energy was there. The enthusiasm about getting back on the floor was good. I thought they paid attention. … We did a lot of stuff."
Gordon Hayward noticed the difference between the first practice and ones from his previous three training camps with the Jazz.Next Page >
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